Discovering New Places…

I love surprises, particularly when they are totally unexpected and have to do with discovering things that you thought you would have known about, but obviously didn’t…

To explain…

Yesterday, after visiting Red Point Artist’s Association (where I am a member) at Port Kembla, we followed up on a tip from one of the other creatives. They suggested we visit an area of Port Kembla Harbour we had not previously been to.

There is a concrete breakwater that is approximately 1 km (0.6 miles) long at the harbour and I was quite looking forward to seeing and exploring it. When we arrived, the entrance was blocked off as perhaps it had sustained damage in last week’s storms. I took a couple of reference photos and we left as we wanted to take a look at the Port Kembla Heritage Park which was on the other side of the bay.

In the park we discovered Art installation (that relates to industrial action back in 1938), Tank Traps and old Battery Ports.

For me though, the best discovery of the afternoon was yet to come…

I was wandering around the edge of the park, mainly concentrating on looking across to the harbour, the breakwater and a cargo ship that was making its entrance when I turned around and saw some different shaped rocks and started to notice the different shades of colour in them plus I noticed a fair-sized rock pool nearby. It was still overcast at this point so I was looking forward to seeing them with sunlight on the scene. I didn’t have to wait long…this is what I saw.

Needles to say, I could immediately see possibilities for sketching, painting and photography and I am looking forward to going back there on different occasions, in different lighting to interpret the scene via these mediums.

I’ve included some more iPhone images below to give you an idea of just how beautiful an area it is. It is 1 hour’s drive away on a Sunday. How did I not visit there before now!? Sometimes, the best places are ‘right under our noses…’.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

10 July 2022

A Space To Learn, Create & Express!

As I’m not a full-time Artist I need to be organised enough to find those capsules of time that enable me to play and create. From 1982 to say 2014, Photography was my ‘vehicle of creative escape’. In 2010, I completed a 6-week Drawing course and over the ensuing 8 years Drawing/Sketching/Painting (Oils) and Photography jockeyed for the position of my No. 1 ‘escape from life’ method.

In late 2018, Watercolour came storming back (along with Line and Wash) and, they became an increasing part of my existence. With the commencement of my Watercolour Sketch a Day/Daily Art Practice on 26 January 2019, both of these forms are the predominant way I like to express myself in terms of Art.

In-between though, Oils have been present although my Oil habit has been in hiatus this year, until last week. I intend to do more in Oils and have several ideas in mind for paintings.

Back to my initial sentence.

Not only do I need to find capsules of time, I needed to have a proper space. No actual studio here however. Over time, I have been re-purposing our 3rd bedroom.

On Thursday I purchased an Art and Craft desk which has an adjustable drawing surface. I used for the first time today and love it.

I now have a desk dedicated to Watercolour/Sketching, a desk dedicated to Oil painting and my computer desk. No more re-purposing desks/clearing space for something else and wasting time in the process.

Whilst I do most of my sketching/painting on weekends (apart from the Watercolour sketches that are done each day), I am now looking to schedule some nights during the week when I can avail myself of my ‘creative space’.

There is also a comfy 2-seater cane chair where I can sit back, pick up my Fountain Pen and write Poetry, read or just contemplate…

A space to learn, create and express.

Written by David Johnson

4 June 2022

PS: After writing this I came across the following great article about Artist’s Studios by Judith on her site, Artistcoveries.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/45138733/posts/4052582242

Illuminate!

A local Festival not far from us that has been going every year since 2016, (except for the Covid-19 years in 2020 and 2021) is the Illuminate Festival.

It is held in Picton, New South Wales, Australia which is located 90 kilometres/56 miles South West of Sydney. Picton is about 10 – 15 minutes drive from where we live.

You may have heard of or seen the Sydney Vivid Festival, where works of Art are projected onto buildings and other structures at night.

Picton is a much smaller version of that, and it also has Art and Craft market stalls, food stalls and all manner of other stalls plus live bands and the Annual Wollondilly Art Exhibition. It is held late May and Susan and I attended it recently.

The Art Exhibition and the projected lights are the biggest drawcard for me however, on the day/night a live local Blues group called, ‘Monkey’s Uncle’ was a definite delight!

Here are some iPhone images from the Festival.

Written by David Johnson

3 June 2022

Moments – The Car Wash

Are we grabbing opportunities when they arrive?

In our lives, there are many ‘moments’ that we have the opportunity to do something different with that moment, but we don’t think of ways how we can use those moments better. I’ve been thinking over time ‘how I’ve used some of my moments?’

I’m talking about those moments when you are waiting… it might be for an appointment, waiting to go somewhere or sitting in your car in a car wash, like I was on late Sunday afternoon.

To be sure, we could just sit and think and watch the spray etc. Instead, I used the opportunity to explore the car wash with my phone camera. I did this before, many years ago with a car wash that used brushes however this was a brushless car wash.

Below are the results.

Next time you are sitting in a car wash, pull out your camera and see what interesting images you can come up with.

Looking forward to my next visit to the car wash!

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

31 May 2022

Oh The Fun!

Last weekend, my Wife and I stayed with our friends at Millthorpe, NSW, Australia as my Wife had been invited to a Baby Shower in Bathurst, about 20 minutes drive away.

Whilst my Wife was at the party, I ventured into the CBD and started to look for a suitable subject to sketch and paint.

I came across a lovely-looking building with a dome which turned out the be the Courthouse however, I chose to sit in the park and view it from behind. I quite liked the busyness of the structures in front of it that were set against the backdrop of the dome.

For me, it was rather a challenging subject as I am still endeavouring to learn ‘how much I want to leave in or leave out?’ One of the other challenges I had on the day was it was quite chilly with a wind blowing. The light was just beautiful though, so I sat there and attempted to sketch and paint it, well my interpretation anyway…

I will definitely have another go at this subject at some point. It was the first time out using my new Winsor and Newton Field Kit which has a mix of Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith paints.

After I finished the sketch, I set off with my DSLR camera and (of course) my Phone camera to see what I could capture in the beautiful late afternoon light. Below is one example from the iPhone camera.

All in all, I had a very enjoyable couple of hours in the late afternoon light.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 May 2022

A Norfolk Island “Lighter”

Well, the first question you might ask is…’What is a Lighter?’

A Lighter is a ‘shallow-draft boat or barge, usually flat-bottomed, used in unloading (lightening) or loading ships offshore’. Source: Brittanica.com

Norfolk Island has no harbour and the closest cargo ships can moor to it is about 1 kilometre (0.62 miles)

The cargo is lifted onto the Lighters and then the Lighters transport the goods to Kingston Pier. A further challenge is that, even at high tide, the water is only 1 metre (3.2 feet) deep so a high degree of seamanship is required.

We were fortunate even to see this careful practice take place in our second visit to Norfolk Island back in 2007.

I find the Lighters to be a fascinating subject, particularly the ones that are no longer in service. There are 3 at Kingston, placed on land to add to the character of an already stunningly beautiful area. Oh, the stories I bet they could tell!

For me, they are one of my favourite subjects on Norfolk Island and have inspired me in terms of photography, sketching, painting and poetry.

Here are few examples:

Till next time!

Written, photographed, sketched and painted by myself.

23 April 2022

Relaxation That Follows/Waiting For Inspiration

As my Followers would be aware, recently my Wife and I went to Norfolk Island. Since returning from Paradise it ‘has been all go’ though strangely (but no surprise) I have felt a greater sense of relaxation throughout this busy time. I put that down to the way of life that is Norfolk Island.

Anson Bay, Norfolk Island

I have felt this way before after both our previous trips to the Island. It is hard to imagine unless you have experienced it but as soon as you step off the plane on Norfolk Island a wave of relaxation washes over you. Each time upon returning home, that relaxation has followed me.

We have been very busy since our return (even though the sense of relaxation remained)…

  • Our Finance Broking business is growing more and more/more enquiries since our return
  • I am also part of an emerging BNI (Business Network International) business breakfast referral group
  • Doing training/education associated with both of the above
  • I continue to do my Entrepreneurship Facilitator role (mentoring start-up businesses)
  • My Watercolour Sketch a Day project continues
  • I am gearing up to have a stall for my Watercolours down at Red Point Artist Association in May
  • Still involved with Toastmasters (though have only made it to one meeting)
  • Judging at one of the local Photographic Societies
  • Catching up with Family/Friends

One thing that had not happened since my return was ‘my morning writing time’, or indeed much writing time at all. It is a bit of a culture-shock to come back from such a relaxing holiday and jump headlong into being so busy but ‘life waits for no-one!’ I usually enjoy an hour or two on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning. Sometimes, it is later in the day.

I haven’t put many poems on the blog since my return almost 6 weeks ago. It is probably (since I started writing poetry in 2013) the longest writing break I’ve experienced since then.

For a moment there I started to think that maybe ‘my poetry writing had run its course…’. This morning (Good Friday here in Australia), I finally felt like picking up my trusty Fountain Pen and started to write, inspired by a photo I took whilst on Norfolk Island. A short, twelve-line poem came out, then a sixteen-line one, then an eight-line one, all of which I will upload.

Sometimes I guess, we just have to let ‘Nature take its course…’. The seeds of the Poems were there…I just had to be patient and wait for the inspiration to come…

Till next time!

Written and Photographed by David Johnson

15 April 2022

The Bounty Folk Museum

Norfolk Island has a number of great museums as it has a very rich history, maritime and otherwise.

Of course one of the most famous aspects of its history is the fact that the Bounty Mutineer descendants made their home on Norfolk island after transferring from Pitcairn Island. There also had been a Polynesian Settlement before Captain Cook arrived and two Penal Colonies prior to arrival of Bounty Mutineer descendants.

The Bounty Folk Museum is situated at Middlegate, on the way to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Kingston and Arthur’s Vale if you are heading there from Burnt Pine, the main shopping centre on the Island.

On http://www.norfolkisland.com.au The Bounty Folk Museum is described as ‘A treasure chest of history, an Aladdin’s cave full of fantastic collections, excellent learning resources and inspiring information …’.

We visit The Bounty Folk Museum every time we go to Norfolk Island and each time, we allow 2-3 hours time to explore. It is much bigger than it looks from the outside.

Rather than me try to explain what you will find there, have a look at the images below. It is absolutely fascinating! The following images do not show all the rooms there.

This museum is very much on the ‘must do’ list when you are visiting Norfolk Island!

Till next time!

Written and Photographed by David Johnson

14 April 2022

Island Fish Fry – A Sumptuous Experience!

There are many interesting tours to do on Norfolk Island. One of our favourites (we’ve done it every time we’ve visited) is the ‘Pine Tree Tours Island Fish Fry’ located at ‘Orn Da Cliff’.

Imagine eating freshly caught fish that is barbecued on a clifftop and served with loads of traditional Norfolk Island food whilst the Sun sets in the background…

All this whilst being entertained by Trent Christian, and 8th descendant of Fletcher Christian (from the Mutiny On The Bounty), singing and playing his guitar and also having a demonstration from the Baunti (Bounty) Beauties performing Norfolk Polynesian dancing.

It is great also to meet other visitors to the Island and share some stories of your trip adventures so far and you will probably run into them from time-to-time through your holiday.

The food was delicious, including traditional desserts washed down with a wine or a beer or non-alcoholic beverages. It’s hard to get across in words so I think I’ll let the images do the talking from here, although one final recommendation is ‘go to Norfolk Island and sample it for yourself!’

Written by David Johnson

12 Mar 2022

Norfolk Island – Paradise!

On 18 February 2022, my Wife, Susan and I headed off to one of our favourite places to go for a holiday, Norfolk Island for 10 nights. It was our third trip there.

View from Queen Elizabeth Lookout over Quality Row (part of Kingston World Heritage site), the Golf course and Nepean and Phillip Islands.

Norfolk Island is located 1,766 kilometres (1,097 miles) North East of Sydney, Australia and there are only two flights in and out per week. The Island itself is an external territory of Australia that was gifted to Australia by the British Commonwealth back in 1913. It became self-governing in 1979 but then in 2015 the Australian Government took over control.

There have been 4 settlements on the Island. Archaeological evidence suggests the the Polynesians were there between (c.1150 and c.1450 AD), then in 1788 the British arrived on Norfolk Island and a Penal colony existed till 1814, then was closed down. A while later, another Penal colony was established and that was closed down in 1856.

Gallows Gate – New Gaol – Penal Settlement

The ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ also had a part to play as, after the Mutiny, Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers ended up taking The Bounty to Pitcairn Island (some 7,000+ kilometres East of Sydney). Descendants of the mutineers then settled on Norfolk Island in 1856 and descendants of the 8 families are still on Norfolk Island to this day.

As mentioned, this is our third visit there, the first being our Honeymoon in 1997, then for our 10th Wedding Anniversary in 2007. This time it was for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we will definitely be going back again.

Susan and a Moreton Bay Fig Tree
at ‘100 Acres’.

The Island is only 34.6 square kilometres (13.36 square miles) in area and is 8km (4.97 miles) wide and 5km (3.1 miles) long however, in three visits there we have not seen it all or done everything there is to do there. It is such and amazing place that caters for all interests and tastes. Whether you are a history buff, like to relax, sketch, paint, photograph, play sports (including Golf), swim, surf, snorkel, read, kayak, paddle-board, fish, hike, go out to restaurants, live bands or shop, there is something for everyone.

Sunset at Puppy’s Point

Over the ensuing weeks (or longer), I will be writing some articles based on our experiences on this Island paradise.

As the Island’s advertising slogan states, ‘There’s more to Norfolk Island.’

Written by David Johnson

5 March 2022